Mind Chatter… Managing The Gaps!

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Podcasts, Talking To Myself...
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Henning Mankell says, “In Africa, listening is a guiding principle. It’s a principle that’s been lost in the constant chatter of the Western world, where no one seems to have the time or even the desire to listen to anyone else.”

It’s been suggested that i turn off or at least take control of my mind chatter and be in the now. But that’s the problem if there is one, how do i do that? I’m conceding the why. Incessant mental noise and unnecessary focus on the past and future can be huge stressors, and they can keep me from being present in where I am and what i’m experiencing. So i miss out on the now, the right now.

To be in the now, i have to learn how to turn off my thinking. By thinking, i mean the thoughts that run through my head by themselves, with little or no direction on my part (thus mind chatter, as in that involuntary, mental monologue i hear and take part in).

The good news is that clearing mind chatter and being in the now are skills i can learn and get good at with practice. i believe that’s what the word is talking about when it says to renew my mind, that i am to take every thought captive to the word of God.

Step 1 is to, “MIND THE GAPS”. In between thoughts, there’s a small gap of “no-mind.” Much like a digital message board. In between each message, there’s a gap of empty space. In my mind, thoughts run in succession, interspersed by gaps of empty space.

Gaps… space that contains no thought, so when i enter into those gaps, i feel a sense of stillness and inner peace. These gaps may last only a few seconds, so my sense of stillness and inner peace lasts only a seconds. But over time, with practice, i become aware of the feeling, and i learn to extend the gaps, feeling more and more stillness and inner peace. These gaps are precious gems, to be guarded for sure and yet displayed for others to see. Not unlike Segula (Treasure)… what God called the Jewish nation in Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 7:6. (There is a series of posts i did on this topic called Segula.)

Eckhart Tolle says that ” 80 to 90 percent of my thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and negative nature, much of it is often harmful and that it causes a serious leakage of my vital energy.

Step #2 is to “EXTEND THE GAPS”. With practice, i can get to where i can extend the gaps to longer periods of time. These two steps lets me be in the now, or present where I am and in what i’m experiencing now, unburdened by the past and the future.

Step #3 is to CREATE THE GAPS”. This actually goes back to Step #1 in that another way to mind the gap is by actively creating gaps (rather than waiting for them to occur). This is done by directing my focus into the now, drawing my thoughts away from mind activity, into a gap of intense awareness of the present moment. It may be useful for me to create a mental image of my thoughts running on a digital message board. As each thought comes in, i see my hand reaching in and pushing it to the side, so it disappears and all i can “see” is the gap.

Romans 12:1-2 tells me that the way i am “transformed,” the way i learn to live Christ’s Life, is by the renewing of my mind – putting off my own negative and corrupt thinking and putting on God’s thoughts.

i still use my thinking mind, but in a much more focused and effective way than before. When i use my mind, and particularly when a creative solution is needed, it will serve me better to oscillate every few minutes between thoughts and gaps, between mind and no-mind. No-mind being consciousness without thought. In that way it’s possible to think more creatively, because only in that way does thought have any real power.

Renewing my mind is not simply “changing” my thoughts, but  actually putting off the old, negative thoughts as well as putting  on God’s Thoughts.  In other words, i can’t just say to God, “Lord,  give me Your Thoughts,” and somehow expect Him to “automatically” give me His Mind. To renew means to exchange  one thing for another.  In other words, i put off and i put on, i exchange my thinking for God’s thinking, i take on His mind and i establish my thoughts in Him. The result is that my every step will be ordered by Him.


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